Commentary: Vote if You Care About Gay Rights

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Around this time of the year, during a presidential election, more often than not we hear the words “Why should I vote?”  I have truthfully never thought about why until just recently, as voting for me was a civic duty. To be able to vote is a huge gift. Many people in other countries fight, and even die for a right to vote. We should vote because we can, because there is too much to lose.

The moment I turned 18 years old I registered to vote and have been voting ever since. With the presidential election just 3 months away I took some time to think about why I have voted in every election for the past 9 years and why you should vote too.

The reality is that we live in a democracy and that means we get a say about how our community and our country is run. Working for a Gay and Lesbian Community Center for the past 3 years has granted me the opportunity to spend much of my time with same-sex couples. Many of these couples have been together for many years and have the healthiest, strongest, and most passionate relationships that I have ever seen. The ugly truth is that their relationships are not recognized in the state of Florida and they are not permitted to have the same rights as heterosexual married couples. To me this is a travesty that voting will one day solve.

As a social worker it is my duty to promote social equality and change. But the only way democracy works is if we are active participants of our civic duties. A government by the people, for the people just doesn’t work without the people. Not voting is like saying you don’t care how our country is run. After all, taking time to vote reflects pride in our nation and its government.

The fact is that I vote because I want my voice to be heard and I want to stand up for what I believe in. If I do not vote then I am not participating in the change that I want. There are always going to be those people that say my vote will not make a difference. My vote might seem to be little more than a rustle, but when my vote is combined with the votes of others just like me it becomes a voice and the more like-voters there are the louder our voices grow. So this November, join me in making your voice heard, and go out and vote.

Julia Murphy is the Case Manager Coordinator at Compass Gay & Lesbian Community Center. She can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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